Rice political scientist available to comment on 2014 State of the Union address

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HOUSTON — (Jan. 27, 2014) — As President Barack Obama prepares for his annual State of the Union address, Rice University political scientist Paul Brace is available to comment on what can be expected from the speech.

“While only in the second year of his second term, realistically the end is nearer than it seems,” said Brace, the Clarence L. Carter Professor of Political Science. “With the 2014 elections approaching, chances for bipartisanship, if there were ever any, are slowly slipping away. Once past this election, all energies will turn to the 2016 presidential contest, and President Obama will be truly a lame duck.”

Brace said that historically, Obama has used his gift for “lofty rhetoric” to stir passions and mobilize support for his agenda. However, with the president’s approval ratings near an all-time low, Brace said, “Rhetoric, no matter how masterfully delivered, will not change this dynamic.

“His approach will likely be less lofty and targeted more at the American people than the legislators in the room,” he said.

Brace said that given the impending election and the fierce partisan division with Republicans in the House of Representatives, the chance for victory on immigration or tax reform or any of his other major objectives is slim.

“In this context, the president is likely to ‘go public’ and pitch his argument to the people, underscoring the need for action to promote greater opportunity for Americans through job creation, training, infrastructure, education and wages, inviting the Congress to work with him but reserving his options for using executive orders if they do not,” Brace said.

Brace is co-author of “Follow the Leader: Opinion Polls and the Modern Presidents,” author of “State Government and Economic Performance” and co-editor of “The Presidency in American Politics” and “American State and Local Politics.” He has published research in the American Political Science Review, American Journal of Political Science, Journal of Politics, Political Research Quarterly, Polity, Social Science Quarterly, American Politics Quarterly, Legislative Studies Quarterly and other journals.

Brace is available for commentary before and after the State of the Union address at 8 p.m. CST Jan. 28. Rice University has a VideoLink ReadyCam TV interview studio capable of transmitting broadcast-quality standard-definition and high-definition video directly to all news media organizations around the world 24/7.

To schedule an interview with Brace, contact him directly at 832-628-5285.

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Paul Brace is the Clarence L. Carter Professor of Political Science in the School of Social Sciences at Rice.

Paul Brace bio: http://www.ruf.rice.edu/~pbrace/.

Paul Brace headshot: http://bit.ly/X0UxrO.

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